So as I'm sure many people know, June is Pride Month, - I honestly did not expect to celebrate Pride Day or Pride Month in Guatemala, and I haven't for the last two years. This year however, due to work with the transgender community in Xela, we were contacted by an organization there whom PC volunteers had worked with during their PEPFAR (The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) workshops and programs. We were therefore invited to participate in Xela's FIRST EVER Pride Parade. It wasn't huge, but it was a success. We had a great showing from the gay, lesbian and transgender communities, as well as talks about being gay in Guatemala (a VERY conservative country), coming out in Guatemala and more. The theme was mainly, acceptance, peace and non-violence, and from what I witnessed there was no negative reactions from the crowd.
Due to the hard work of our HIV committee, each project received a lot of money from the US government to work on HIV education. (PEPFAR funds). We have therefore had trainings for health center staff teaching them how to give our 3 hr HIV/AIDS workshop, and have had to set up, as a team, a workshop for a PEMAR (high risk) population. Therefore this past Monday we gave the HIV workshop to about 50 municipal workers (all men) from San Vicente. They were actually a great audience, very participatory, they asked great questions and they were (well seemed) genuinely interested in the topic. It wasn't my normal HIV workshop crowd, but it was a very important population to educate, as they are the community leaders, and can therefore disseminate the information to many people within the community.
I've been staying so busy, it's hard to believe I have less than 2 weeks left in San Vicente, and less than a month of service left. It hasn't hit me yet that I'm leaving as I'm constantly so busy, but I'm sure it will, if not here, then for sure when I get home. It has been a great two years, and I am going to try to start winding down my work, so I can focus on saying my goodbyes and sorting out my house and packing up all my stuff.
An Update from Vietnam, Two Countries Later
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